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HomeNewsRishi Sunak will be Britain's next prime minister after Liz Truss' resignation

Rishi Sunak will be Britain’s next prime minister after Liz Truss’ resignation

The former finance minister was named leader of the ruling Conservative Party on Monday after Boris Johnson dropped his bid for a comeback.

LONDON — Former finance minister Rishi Sunak won the race to be Britain’s next prime minister Monday, the first British Asian to assume the role and the third leader in seven weeks of a country roiled by political and economic chaos.

Sunak will become the latest leader of the ruling Conservative Party to enter the revolving door of No. 10 Downing St., following Liz Truss’ resignation just 44 days after taking office. Her scandal-plagued predecessor, Boris Johnson, dropped his bid for a comeback Sunday.

In his first public statement after the results were announced, Sunak said the country faces a “profound economic challenge.”

He went on to pledge to work for “stability and unity,” and added that he would make it his “utmost priority” to unite the party and the country.

Sunak’s victory was confirmed after his only other challenger, Penny Mordaunt, failed to secure the support of enough of her fellow lawmakers before the deadline.

 

“Rishi Sunak is therefore elected as leader of the Conservative Party,” Graham Brady, the Conservative lawmaker who oversees the party’s leadership elections, told his colleagues, who banged on tables and cheered at the announcement.

Sunak, who at 42 is set to be the youngest prime minister in more than 200 years, will now be invited to form a government by King Charles III, a ceremonial duty the country’s new monarch will carry out for the first time.

A multimillionaire former banker, Sunak was not elected by the United Kingdom’s 67 million people but rather appointed by lawmakers from the Conservative Party, which is recording historic polling lows after a decade of austerity and 18 months of controversy and division.

This is the party’s second leadership contest in two months. In the first, Sunak was the clear favorite until Truss’ late surge saw her elected by the party’s nearly 200,000 paying members, who are mostly white, wealthy and male, and tend to lean to the right of the British political center.

This time, those members didn’t have a say because Sunak was the only candidate to get the requisite support of 100 lawmakers to reach a potential runoff.

Johnson claimed he could have reached this threshold, and he may well have won a wider vote among the membership. But doing so would have strained a bitterly divided party to the breaking point, so unpopular is Johnson in Parliament. Sunak’s other challenger, Mordaunt, announced minutes before the 9 a.m. ET deadline that she, too, had failed to gather enough support. “Rishi has my full support,” she said in a statement.

SourceNBC
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